PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has painted a grim scenario of more attacks in Mindanao in the coming days as Congress heeded his request to have martial law, set to expire on Dec. 31, extended for one more year from Jan. 1.
“We are not over the hump. Marawi is just a signal, one flashpoint. Sulu, some other places. Cotabato, Maguindanao, you watch out for it in the coming days. But it could be good reporting for you anyway… So I expect to see you there,”
Duterte told Malacañang reporters, invited to a Christmas party Tuesday night.
“You’ll have your share of happiness in the coming days. Just be patient and you’ll get the action that you need and want,” he added.
In related developments:
• Security officials welcomed Wednesday the decision of Congress to approve Duterte’s request for a 12-month extension of martial law.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured the Filipino people they would use the extension to finally end the rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao and stop others who wanted to sow violence.
“The Filipino people can rest assured that we will not squander this opportunity to finally end the continuing rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao by destroying the Daesh structure in the area, thwart like-minded groups from conducting further acts of terrorism, and prevent the spillover of violence and radicalism in other parts of the country,” he said in a press statement.
• The Department of Justice also has approved the criminal prosecution of a woman arrested in Taguig City last October for allegedly recruiting, through social media, fighters for the ISIS-linked Maute terror group who attacked Marawi City and engaged government troops in nearly five months of heavy fighting since May.
After finding probable cause, the DoJ indicted Karen Aizha Hamidon with 295 counts of inciting to rebellion charges before the Taguig City Regional Trial Court.
In a resolution signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong and approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan, the DoJ also found Hamidon liable for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The DoJ prosecutor recommended a P20, 000 bail for each count for her temporary liberty.
Duterte warned the country would be in great danger should Islamist ideas continue to prevail.
“I’m anxious. If they will bring [their ideas] here, we are in deep sh*t,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
On the eve before Congress moved to approve his request, Duterte, however, admitted his move to extend martial law lacked support from the ground.
If Congress then decided to turn down his request, that would be fine for him.
“It does not affect me, let us lift it now,” he said.
The DoJ ruled the National Bureau of Investigation was able to present evidence that she incited others to execute acts of rebellion even as it dismissed the complaint for rebellion for lack of merit.
“Respondent’s acts of inciting others to commit rebellion was done by posting various messages through social media multiple times. In sum, respondent should be charged for (sic) 295 counts of inciting to rebellion in violation of Article 138 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175,” the resolution stated.
In the same resolution, the DoJ also dismissed Hamidon’s claim she was instigated by an NBI undercover agent to commit the alleged crime.
“The same deserves scant attention, since the contents of the messages and the multiple times these were posted defy her theory of instigation,” it added.
As to Hamidon’s arguments she was not committing any crime at the time she was arrested and her mobile phone was seized by the NBI agents, the DoJ said these were “evidentiary in nature” which were best ventilated in a full-blown trial.
In her counter-affidavit submitted to the DoJ, Hamidon said an NBI agent posing as an Islamic State radical had pushed her to make the online postings.
She said since she was the wife of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy and an ex-wife of Singaporean national Muhammad Shamin Mohammed Sidek who was identified as having link to the Islamic State these made her life an interesting one to the authority.
Maguid is the former leader of the Ansar Khalifa Philippines who was killed by the military in January this year in Sarangani province.
The Ansar Khalifa is allegedly behind the attack in the Roxas night market in Davao City in September last year that killed more than a dozen people and injured scores more as well as the failed attempt to bomb the US Embassy in Manila last December.
NBI Director Dante Gieran said Hamidon was also a known associate of Musa Cerantonio, an Australian Islamist preacher who had inspired foreigners to join ISIS. With Rey Requejo